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 > Family of 4, looking for smaller trailer

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testing123

Texas

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Posted: 05/16/20 04:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello all,

I have some young kids (5 and 2) I grew up tent camping and have gone several times with the 5yo. (had plans this spring for the family but all that is canceled). I also planned to get a truck for my next vehicle (in ~5 years) with an RV so the wife will come (also AC opens up summer for camping), I know it probably wont be her thing but between the kinds and I it will be fun. Now: the wife thinks we can get a good deal on a used truck here soon (due to economy) and I am sure it will get a lot of use between our families.

It got me thinking I could (currently unprepared on research) accelerate the purchase of a travel trailer. I have browsed here and there but the main thoughts are:

-We will spend most of the time outside like tent campers, would like trailer to shower/sleep. Don't need couch/TV/etc.
-Not sure I want to hassle with pop up/canvas.
-Probably keep for 5-7 years
-Thinking bunk beds for the kids and big bed for us (6'3" height): I don't want to be making a bed out of a couch every night.
-Minimal amenities (hot water, AC) would prefer something shorter/light weight/easy to tow
-Almost always staying at a site with water/power

Concerns
-Enough hot water for showers?
-Frequent empty waste water tanks?
-Insulation isn't too important as we are in the south and main use is for sleeping at night. I do expect the wife will spend some afternoons inside while we are out.


Budget: I would prefer to spend less than $10k, probably closer to $6-7k for a used trailer.

Length: was thinking 18-20 ft long as the target

Don't have experience towing but would want something about 5000 lbs or less. Looking at full size trucks (V8) so I think the weight shouldn't be an issue.

I am looking for any feedback and thoughts on my plan. Suggestions on what to look for. Any specific models you would recommend for these conditions. Hard finding a bunk bed model.

I am the type of person who will make do with what I got so if the TT is decent on average, I wont get too caught up on little preferences. I also figure buying a cheaper used one will limit downside.

The Gulfstream 198BH looks good (and new for $10k?) but the queen bed is going to have my feet hanging off the edge a bit.. thoughts?

Lwiddis

Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area

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Posted: 05/16/20 04:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Follow the rule. Buy or select the trailer first, then match an appropriate tow vehicle to the trailer. Rather than trailer weight, think TV payload first...tongue weight, people, hitch and stuff in the TV.

“Almost always staying at a site with water/power.” That’s too bad. You’ll miss camping in so many beautiful dry campgrounds.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


Lwiddis

Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area

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Posted: 05/16/20 04:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gulfstream 198BH...only a single axle, only one window on right side, only 900 pounds of cargo capacity of which 300 will be taken by water plus propane and batteries. Not the TT I’d pick.

jdc1

Rescue, Ca

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Posted: 05/16/20 07:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Try a toyhauler if you are concerned about waste and water tank sizes.

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 05/16/20 09:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lwiddis wrote:

Follow the rule. Buy or select the trailer first, then match an appropriate tow vehicle to the trailer. Rather than trailer weight, think TV payload first...tongue weight, people, hitch and stuff in the TV.

“Almost always staying at a site with water/power.” That’s too bad. You’ll miss camping in so many beautiful dry campgrounds.


"Dry campgrounds" for some "kids/folks" may not be all that "beautiful" and might be considered an "acquired taste".

Think of it is "baby steps", sometimes one must start out testing the waters with places that offer "attractions" like swimming pools, lazy rivers, miniature golf and many other modern amenities.

Many "dry" campgrounds are pretty rustic, little to no Internet, no electric, no water, no sewage and offer very little to keep the modern day kids busy unless you are totally into a 20 mile hike through desert wilderness or rugged mountains getting back to camp totally worn out and beaten to a pulp.

Give the folks who like to have a few modern amenities a break..

As far as selecting the trailer first, then the tow vehicle, well that in of it's self often results in the supersize mentality and without some limits can easily result in size creep.. Start with 18'-20' and end up with a massive 30'+ billboard then a monster truck to drag it around.

I will say, 20' is going to be cozy with a family and you might find you will either have to switch between bed mode and day mode but it can be done.

Best thing to do is go to some dealers and kick the tires of some of the target size of 18'-20', sit in them with kids and image yourself camping in it.

If it is your first trailer, go as short as possible, resist the supersize temptation to move up to the 30'+ sizes..

I would also suggest, perhaps look at some used trailers if possible, this can save you some money upfront and if the smaller size does not work out as well as imagined you will take less of a financial loss when you decide you want something bigger.

We started with a used 20', used it for 4 yrs, bought a used 26'and have used it for 12 yrs now, love that size and is easier to fit into places that a 30'+ trailer will never fit.

travisc

Pacific NW

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Posted: 05/16/20 09:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Go look at some new trailers think about what meets your requirements then look for used, your in the range to find a few year old trailer with what you want 2 axle trailers can handle weight a. It better and single axle run out of capacity pretty fast. Most will all have what you want, look at fridge size and such, if you want a slide or not.


Winnebago Access 24V

jerem0621

Tennessee

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Posted: 05/16/20 09:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That is tiny for four people. I know what you say, being outside most of the time.

Except, you will have those times where you are not. Trust me, everyone being on top of each other is no fun.

Also, if your wife’s thing is not camping she may need a retreat where she can escape from camping Where she be comfortable. I suggest something with a Bedroom...a couch...a dinette...and decent bunks for growing kids. (Get a sturdy top bunk, one rated for 300 plus lbs)

No slide needed right now.

looks for models that say 25 or 26 BH like the Zinger, Jayco or Coleman. Those are GREAT first TT’s and weigh nothing hardly. Easy to pull (tandem axles for the win!) and have a decent cargo capacity. And that floor plan has been made for years and years and there are at least 15-20 years with of this floor plan to choose from.

[image]

Plus you can get a real bedroom for you and the Mrs. That is worth it’s weight in Dutch oven Campfire Chili.

JMHO based on experience.

Thanks!

Jeremiah


TV- 2011 Chevy Tahoe, 2WD, Hayden transmission cooler
TT - Zinger 270BH
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Dual Friction bar sway control
Tekonsha Voyager brake controller (Great Brake Controller)

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Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 05/17/20 01:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lwiddis wrote:

Follow the rule. Buy or select the trailer first, then match an appropriate tow vehicle to the trailer. Rather than trailer weight, think TV payload first...tongue weight, people, hitch and stuff in the TV.

“Almost always staying at a site with water/power.” That’s too bad. You’ll miss camping in so many beautiful dry campgrounds.


Good lord man, the OP basically has figured out every important detail and is 100% on track and that's what he did, so why are you lecturing it?
I'll paraphrase. He said 5klb max and V8 pickup. Sounds like he did exactly what you said before you even said it.
Becasue how the ____does one buy a trailer without anything to pull it? Responsibly, anyways...


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

Grit dog

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Posted: 05/17/20 01:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP, I agree with the thoughts that you're thinking a little small for 4 people, especially if you're thinking comfort for yourself or keeping the wifey happy.

But, with your budget of $6-10k, there are a lot of mid size TTs in decent shape in that range. Don't focus on age as much as condition, IMO and preferably not one that was used heavily. The majority of RVs are used infrequently, so no need to buy one that is 5-10 years old that was used half a year straight every year.
Just start looking, you said you weren't hung up on nuances, so the best condition trailer that is in your price range is the right one.

afidel

Cleveland

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Posted: 05/17/20 02:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

testing123 wrote:

Hello all,

I have some young kids (5 and 2) I grew up tent camping and have gone several times with the 5yo. (had plans this spring for the family but all that is canceled). I also planned to get a truck for my next vehicle (in ~5 years) with an RV so the wife will come (also AC opens up summer for camping), I know it probably wont be her thing but between the kinds and I it will be fun. Now: the wife thinks we can get a good deal on a used truck here soon (due to economy) and I am sure it will get a lot of use between our families.

It got me thinking I could (currently unprepared on research) accelerate the purchase of a travel trailer. I have browsed here and there but the main thoughts are:

-We will spend most of the time outside like tent campers, would like trailer to shower/sleep. Don't need couch/TV/etc.
-Not sure I want to hassle with pop up/canvas.
-Probably keep for 5-7 years
-Thinking bunk beds for the kids and big bed for us (6'3" height): I don't want to be making a bed out of a couch every night.
-Minimal amenities (hot water, AC) would prefer something shorter/light weight/easy to tow
-Almost always staying at a site with water/power

Concerns
-Enough hot water for showers?
-Frequent empty waste water tanks?
-Insulation isn't too important as we are in the south and main use is for sleeping at night. I do expect the wife will spend some afternoons inside while we are out.


Budget: I would prefer to spend less than $10k, probably closer to $6-7k for a used trailer.

Length: was thinking 18-20 ft long as the target

Don't have experience towing but would want something about 5000 lbs or less. Looking at full size trucks (V8) so I think the weight shouldn't be an issue.

I am looking for any feedback and thoughts on my plan. Suggestions on what to look for. Any specific models you would recommend for these conditions. Hard finding a bunk bed model.

I am the type of person who will make do with what I got so if the TT is decent on average, I wont get too caught up on little preferences. I also figure buying a cheaper used one will limit downside.

The Gulfstream 198BH looks good (and new for $10k?) but the queen bed is going to have my feet hanging off the edge a bit.. thoughts?


My KZ 181BH is very similar but the bed is full trailer width and it has a dinette slide which adds SO much space. The downsides are very, very small tanks, before Covid it was not an issue, we used the bathrooms and showerhouses at the campgrounds so the main issue was sink water, needed a blue tote to go two weeks without a sewer hookup. Now that public showers aren't a possibility it's limiting out options, have to find a site with full hookup even for a long weekend because navy showers won't cut it with my family, sites with water/electric or just electric are WAY more common so my advice for the next year or two is get 60 gallon grey minimum. We did not find size to be a problem 95% of the time, we did 5k miles with 5 of us, that said I do want a couch or recliner in my next trailer. I payed $12,500 out the door for my unit new.

hope that helps a little


2017 KZ Sportsmen Classic 181BH
2015 GMC 1500 Sierra 4x4 5.3 3.42 long bed
E2 WDH


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